Whilst most modern rap music goes charging off in search of the next new sound, FiVe (The Infinite) has the ability to look back at what has gone before and use those building blocks as a platform for his signature style. If the competition seems happy to make an impact through unsubtle, sonic sucker-punches, FiVe (The Infinite) deals in more drifting ambient soundscapes and more beguiling sounds.
As a result, We Interrupt This Broadcast, doesn’t seem to belong to either the past or the future, only the present, a fleeting stop on his creative journey to…well, who knows where?
Driver Door Open kicks things off, aslice of old school hip-hop tastefulness, one forged of shuffling grooves and chiming piano lines and some deft and dexterous lyrical salvos. And as if to warn us that this is an album which is all about adventure and exploration, Manuel follows, a track wrapped around a glorious, and gloriously simple, bass line as the words come on as much like an instrument themselves as they do a means of communication. It is at this point that you realise that the mood atmosphere are just as much a part of the process as the actual words and instrumentation, this is obviously an artist who knows how to use the studio as more than just a tool to record but as an instrument in its own right.
He also understands how important the idea of found sounds and background street noise is when creating those atmospherics, this is someone who has clearly listened to and absorbed the delights of Marvyn Gaye’s What’s Going On.
There are buoyant and bouncing tracks such as the wonderfully titled At Least 3 Different 808’s, which I assume is a bit of an in-joke title for those involved, it telling you everything you need to know about how the track was constructed and Mister Mayfye tells me that the spirit of De La Soul is alive and kicking, and moving with the times. While Driving is an explosion of lyrical and harmonious deliveries, requiring very little else to make it work and apart from some wandering bass lines and incidental music is almost an a cappella number. But then again, this is a genre based onthe power of the voice above all else.
Change The Channel warps forward-thinking hip-hop through a strange, neo-soul landscape and the album ends where it began with Driver Door Close. And the journey is done.
It’s a great album, one that shows us that the past is as important as what comes next. That genres are there to be explored, and twisted, and merged. It reminds us that, despite what the mainstream tells us, the best music is being made in the fringes, away from fad, fashion and listener…and indeed record industry…expectations. It’s a taste of the past, merging with the present and informing the future. How cool is that?